Thursday, 28 November 2013

With Just A Sign, I'd Wait Forever

Your fragile beauty renders me speechless - longingly
Your delicate manner impels me to hold you - protectively
Your every word replays in my mind - constantly
Your elegant walk, freezes in my field of view - gracefully
Your diamond smile lights up my world - lusciously
Your sparkling eyes, like a warm moon-lit night, remain - invitingly


and as Mario Quintana once wrote, and I quote;

We are responsible for our actions
but not for our feelings.
We are culpable of what we do
but not of what we feel.
We can promise actions
but can not promise feelings,
for actions are birds in a cage,
and feelings are birds on the wing


Saturday, 9 November 2013

Condescending Piousness

Every so often FaceBook brings to my attention social issues that, if it weren't for this expansive forum, would likely go unnoticed.

This morning I stumbled across a post that almost brought a tear to my eye. It re-affirms my belief that humanity is on the right track and that the spirit of fraternity and benevolence amplifies with each new generation.

I know that for many years religious institutions, in particular Christian organisations, have helped feed and clothe the poor - but I have always detected a certain air of arrogance and condescending piousness from those dispensing aid that I dislike immensely. An "I am holier and wealthier than thou, and don't forget it" kind of attitude.

There is no condescending attitude with the Italian idea of "Suspended Coffee", for the simple reason it has no ulterior motive such as ingratiation.

The "Suspended Coffee" idea is based on an Italian goodwill tradition of those who can spare the cost of extra coffees when ordering theirs. Pre-paying.  An idea that is now spreading around Europe with more and more Cafes joining the scheme.

It was brought to my attention by a chap who was visiting his pal in Belgium. He noticed some people going to the counter to order their coffee and asking for two or more "suspended" ones. When he enquired of his friend what that was all about his pal said "wait and see".

Some time later a dishevelled and likely homeless old boy walked in and politely asked if he could have a "suspended" coffee. The waitress promptly served him the hot and comforting beverage that no doubt makes a huge difference to this destitute man's quality of life.

The dispensers of charity in this case remain anonymous and the recipients don't feel compelled or obligated to thank the donors. Genuine charity. I like that.

 I like that a heck of a lot.


Thursday, 7 November 2013

Thirst That Can Not Be Quenched

Have you ever wanted someone so badly that you actually feel a sensation akin to a warm nervous tremor in your stomach every time you see or think about that person?

I hope you have.

And if you have, was the feeling mutual?

I hope it was...for your sake, for I doubt there is anything more gut-wrenching and frustrating than wanting someone who doesn't feel the same way about you.

It is a hunger that can not be sated.

Oh, the ultimate mental torture that is unrequited love!

Strange how medical science, despite its numerous achievements and advances over the last century, is still incapable of providing explanations to feelings and emotions such as love, longing, desire and attraction.

I believe that eventually science will be able to explain such emotions, and possibly even find a cure for what is commonly referred to as matters of the heart. Matters of the mind would be a more appropriate description. Sadly, such a breakthrough is not likely happen soon.

I see your name everywhere, everyday, in a nondescript name tag and in the lines of my poem...

"  Bring forth the end of your eternal absence and
   Embellish my existence with your sparkling presence
   Light up the darkness of my Autumn days
   Light up the flickering embers in my hearth
   And allow my boundless affection safe passage into your heart"


Sunday, 3 November 2013

News In The Cold Light of Day

A Japanese chef cooked and served his own genitals!

Mao Sugiyama, a self-described asexual cook from Tokyo, marinated and cooked his todger and served it to five diners at a posh banquet last month.

Sugiyama's Tweet last April caused controversy when he posted "I am offering my male genitals (full penis, testes and scrotum) as a meal for 100,000 yen.Will prepare and cook as the buyers requests"

There's me thinking Coq Au Vin was a French dish!

From The New Zealand Guardian Feb 3 2004, concerning a sign seen in a Police canteen in Christchurch, New Zealand: 
'Will the person who took a slice of cake from the Commissioner's Office return it immediately. It is needed as evidence in a poisoning case."

Whilst on the subject of poison,Syria has decommissioned its Chemical Arsenal...

Arsenal got trounced 2-0 by Chelsea...

...Chelsea Clinton is no longer camera-shy (yiipee! One more celeb for GB to study), unlike her dad Bill...

Bill Gates offers lifeline to Spanish Construction giant, FCC, by buying into the company and helping with the economic recovery of the country. Bill, the billionaire philanthropist, does more to help humanity than all the world religions put together, and apparently, unlike religions, with no ulterior motives. Bill has taken to studying the human condition and so adds another feather to his cap - Anthropology...

Anthropologist extraordinaire Gorilla Bananas, continues to amuse all who venture into his world at The Japing Ape blog, with his humour and uncanny simian ability to make sense of senseless humans...

Humans will overrun the planet by 2050! According to author Dan Brown's latest novel, Inferno, (half way through as I write) the future is rather bleak as Earth struggles to accommodate an inevitable human population explosion. I'm not sure why I've decided to read Dan's latest offering, but I say, somewhat coyly, I am a fan of his. I find his novels light-hearted but entertaining and I especially like the way he threads fiction through History...

History repeats itself more often than I like. It appears that President Obama may have forgotten to tell the NSA (National Security Agency) bosses that the Cold War is over and that it is extremely rude to snoop on your friends.

Angela? Why?

With freunde like that who the hell needs feinde??

Come back Bill, all is forgiven.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

So Help Me God

"No, I haven't"

I thought it best to start by answering those who may think I've lost my senses.

Makes perfect sense - to the senseless

Is it just me, or does anyone else get annoyed when they hear someone say "God Help Me" ?

I often feel like saying;

"If there were a god, would She/He/It  ( I'll use the acronym SHit for expediency)  help YOU with your trivial problem when SHit doesn't help the millions of children around the world dying of malnutrition, fatal diseases and war ?"

Such as this poor little child who just happened to be born in the wrong place

"Are you so special as to deserve the help that your god does not afford to the countless others who need it much more than you do?"

Such as...

Victims of natural disasters...

and of wars...

often caused by tribal and religious differences

Or even;

"Do you NOT think little girls being savaged by Female Genital Mutilation in parts of the Muslim World deserve more help than you?"

Or "Jewish babies having their foreskins removed for no other reason than cultural/religious dogma?"

Even "Christian baby girls having their ears pierced (maybe less painful than the examples above but still) for decorative reasons and motives rooted in early Christianity?"

That's child abuse!

If those believers who commit these vile acts on helpless children really believe humans are created in god's image then why do they feel the need to rectify the works of creation? Are you all saying your god made a mistake? If you are, surely that's blasphemy!

Now, if I were a believer, I'd feel guilty asking SHit for help with my trivial and less deserving problems.

I'd hate to think SHit may just grant my wish to solve the morning traffic chaos or abate the loud music from my neighbour's house instead of helping with the more urgent and serious cases.

How can anyone who believes in SHit believe SHit gives a shit?

To make matters worse, people in different parts of the world invoke different gods! Different gods depending on where they were born and indoctrinated. And most absurdly, they all think their god is the right one.

One thing is certain: They can't all be right.

But they can all be wrong. Of this I have no doubt.

Talking of doubts, Henry Charles Bukowski Jr once said, and I quote;

"The problem with the world is that the intelligent are full of doubts while the idiots are full of certainties"

He should have added a foot note stating "Not applicable to Atheists"

And to all those believers out there I say:

"With all the suffering pictured above, and many more tragedies constantly blighting our planet, what on earth are your gods doing about it?

If SHit is incapable of helping, why bother following, or worse still, invoking the help of such a useless shit?

Beggars belief.

Beyond belief alright.


Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Beauty is more than skin deep

Admiring beauty is a perplexing emotion. I think it is an emotion exclusive to humans - but I may be wrong.

In Nature we often see animals, especially birds, who appear to develop beautiful plumage to attract a mate, but do those creatures actually feel enthralled and mesmerised by beauty as we do?

Humans appear to have slightly varying tastes as far as admiring beauty is concerned, particularly when it comes to other people, but we also have a lot in common when it comes to Nature's works of art.

Take for instance the following photos:

The eye: One of Nature's masterpieces

The graceful elegance of a bird in flight

Refreshing...yet warm
Nature's powerful pyrotechnic displays
Lilac snow and red sky: Paul Gauguin must have painted it

The sizzling, sensual Cheryl Cole - enchants most boys... and some girls

I don't know about you lot, but all the images above evoke within me feelings of wonderment, awe, fascination, incredulity and astonishment.

Surely it's not just it?


Saturday, 5 October 2013

The Science of Dreams

I've never been one to dream much. In fact I'd say I'm only aware of dreaming, or at least remember dreaming, once a month at most.

I do however, have a recurring dream/nightmare, that's not really a dream, but happens while I'm in a twilight state between sleep and wakefulness. A possible third state of awareness that has until now, never been written about or explained fully.(see link below)

It happens a few times a year, thankfully, but that's a few times too many.

I am asleep, then wake up but can't move. Paralysed, frozen to the bed, for what seems an eternity. As each second ticks by, anxiety grows, and I make some sort of inhuman, groaning sounds, as if pleading for anyone to rescue me by waking me up fully. I desperately want to escape this state of helplessness and paralysis. 

This all started many years ago, can't exactly remember when, after reading some article about a small percentage of patients, who, while under the knife and anaesthetised, remember and feel the operation but are unable to communicate with the surgeons to stop the procedure. I was a very curious child, and often read articles and books, especially medical science articles, that were meant for much older audiences. The though of that scenario in an operating theatre ever happening to me, filled me with horror, and instilled a phobia-like dread of surgery. That, I believe, was what set off these unpleasant dreams that have haunted me ever since. 

You can imagine how delighted I was to read this morning an article from BBC News depicting this condition, and that research is being carried out by Prof. Pandit of Oxford University Hospital.

Once again, science comes to the rescue and will, as it always has, provided me with answers to most of life's dilemmas.

How can so many people, mostly those of religious persuasion, be anti-science? The world is half-full of science-sceptics who wrongly blame science for many of society's woes.

You have all heard the illogical arguments of those science-haters who mention nuclear weapons as one of sciences worst inventions. Do those people refuse medical treatments such as radio therapy when cancer strikes? I don't think so. Yet radio-therapy, a treatment that saves countless lives daily,would not have come about without the nuclear research embarked upon for military reasons.

Science is neither good nor evil. Science has no ulterior motives or hidden agendas. Science is knowledge through research and experiment. Science is what sets humans apart from all other creatures on our planet. 

To hate science is to hate knowledge.

To hate science for the weapons it has created is like hating water for causing death by drowning of so many people. Or hating fire for the same reason. Or hating the sun for the skin cancer it can cause.

It is illogical and pathetic to hate or even to be suspicious of science. 

Science has given us all the mod-cons we have today that enhance our quality of life.

Science has given us medical treatments that have extended our lifespan by 50% in the last 200 years.

Science will, eventually, prove the non existence of gods and ghosts and all other silly superstitious nonsense that shackle so many people to blissful ignorance.

Science is the residence of all human knowledge.

Do you agree?


Monday, 23 September 2013

The Turning Point

The body count continues to rise after a weekend of mindless butchery around the world.

Like a plague threatening all humanity, this time around the pestilence it is not being spread by rats but by indoctrinated men and women whose hearts are filled with hatred and whose brainwashed minds are damaged by religious fanaticism.

The modern-day Inquisitors bear modern weapons and wear the sign of the red crescent.

A lifetime misspent studying a fictitious holy book has turned poorly-educated and academically inept misfits into savage killers. Killers who are ready and willing to die and kill for the myth that is religion.

Despite the increasing carnage and wanton destruction, I believe we are reaching a turning point in the war against religious terrorism with the help of President Putin . Russia's diplomatic efforts to prevent the West from launching an invasion into Syria might just turn out to be the best foreign policy move to ever come from Moscow.

A poll carried out last month shows that the majority of British people are not willing to allow their army to go to war in Syria.

I'm delighted with that.

If the West attacks Syria it would mean helping the Sharia Law barbarians of the Moslem Brotherhood, ISIS and Al Qaeda to topple the nasty (but at least secular) dictator, President Assad.

What a waste of money and life that would be!

The Syrian opposition forces have stooped to a new low, executing captured Army prisoners in front of their own children. Doesn't bode well for the future generations.

Who on earth would want to help these cold-blooded killers?

Sadly, in a land devoid of choices, Assad appears to be the lesser of two evils.


Friday, 6 September 2013

The Rested Mind of a Restless Man

How strange it is to be at peace with the world and to have no desire to rant!

So many injustices around, from human rights abuses to feckless wars, from hypocrisy to superstition, and yet the burning desire to complain seems to have deserted me. Temporarily.

Hence my recent absence from blogland.

I hardly recognise myself, of late.

I'm almost completely happy!I always see the beauty around me and avoid the unpleasant and the ugly.

I refuse to spend my precious free time with negative people.

My favourite blog of the moment is The Japing Ape. And that's because it is  full of humour, colourful prose,  light-hearted banter and quirky self-mockery. Very much like how I feel at present.  I recommend that blog  to anyone who wants to laugh at the outrageous attempts of certain celebrities to draw attention to themselves, as beautifully described by the highly intuitive and talented anthropologist, Gorilla Bananas.

But surely a scathing attack IS on it's way.


Are any of you blog friends familiar with my present state of mind? You know, feeling content and at peace after years of ranting?

If yes please let me know the outcome in your case, so I can at least prepare myself for the next phase.

Ciao for now

Saturday, 3 August 2013

The Difference Between "Intelligent" and "Well Informed"

It seems many people I ask struggle to tell the difference between being intelligent and being well -informed. Many people I know in fact seem to think being well-informed is being intelligent.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

Although the desire to learn and retain information can be a characteristic of intelligence, it is by no means a conclusion.

Being well-informed is a by-product of curiosity coupled with a good memory. That's all.

A book full of important information is not intelligent. It is well-informed.

Being well-informed is having the memory to retain information and recall it at will. Well-informed is a computer RAM chip's only claim to fame. It stores and recalls information. It is not a clever part of the machinery. The complex and smart part of the computer is its Processor. In other words, the processor makes sense of the boundless information stored in the RAM

An intelligent person's brain has the capacity to dissect and analyse all the information stored and make sense of it.  Being intelligent is having the gift of knowing what to do with the information and reaching logical conclusions with it.

It appears that the world's educational services continues to fail gifted children, or at least fails to bring out the best in them.

Education Authorities the world over try to turn children into clones of the educators who run and devise the system. Do we need a world full of professors? Especially given the fact that lots of professors are not very intelligent in the first place.

Many professors, scholars and so-called intellectuals are mere information-storage devices.  Or the human equivalent of RAM chips. Many have the intelligence of a gnat (no disrespect to the mosquito-like biting little fly) but think otherwise.

This is one of the reasons so many of these studied and well-informed people, albeit bereft of intelligence and logic, come out with such tripe as "God Hates Gays" and "Support Capital Punishment and Freedom To Carry Arms while at the same time they're against women's rights to choose abortion.

So, the easiest way to classify humans is by referring to people as "RAM"  or "CPU" types.

RAM = Random Access Memory (simple recording device)
CPU =  Central Processing Unit (efficiently handles stored information)

Lets take some famous people, past and present, and see if we can tag them correctly:

Barack Obama   = CPU
George W Bush     = RAM
Sarah Palin   = RAM
Nelson Mandela   =CPU
Pope Francis   = RAM
Albert Einstein   = CPU+RAM+
Richard Dawkins   =CPU+RAM+
Charles Darwin   =CPU+RAM+

Please let me know if you think of any other cases, especially RAM types.


Sunday, 28 July 2013

Contentious News of The Week

A few News items this week have grabbed my attention to the point I need to think about them and then express my views. I'm sure we all do it to a degree - comment on what's happening around us.

Despite my new found optimism and desire to not dwell on upsetting events (in fact I try to overlook them completely) some matters are not easy to ignore. Especially when they contravene human rights.


Over in the US, 15 year old Tuesday Cain, who in my opinion is a smart and free-thinking young lady, has come into unjust and vile criticism over her stance against anti-abortion and pro-lifers (the religious bigots who, ironically, normally support capital punishment and the right to bear arms, but not the right of women to choose).

Ms Cain penned the placard message her friend was to hoist  for all to see.

Controversial or just plain genius?

Tuesday is being unfairly ridiculed, offended and judged by the Religious Right bigots who apparently are followers of a man who asked his flock to be fair to all and not to judge others.

Damn cretins! I'd love to address them one day and spell out a few home truths.

Tuesday, keep up the good work and never let anyone silence you or deny you of your rights to express your views, especially when it comes to human rights. Those who attack you are the fools, the lambs-to-slaughter idiots who live by the words of ancient drug-using scribes that were commissioned by the church to write a book of rules. A book (The Bible) full of contradictions, misogynist propaganda and damn right lies.

Let the fools rant on girl, for they will run out of steam eventually and will go the way of the dinosaurs. Your views will remain and be carried forward by the intelligent and the rational majority.


Another recent video that almost made me weep was the following plea by 11 year old Yemeni girl Nada, who had to run away from parents intent on marrying her off to some older man. This beautiful and articulate little girl is highlighting an injustice that befalls so many innocent children who are unfortunate to be born into archaic societies with cultural habits that no civilized human should tolerate.

Watch Nada's attempts to explain the unjust situation she has to face on this Youtube Link

Don't you just want to take her home, protect her and give her the chance in life she deserves? I do. Her and all the other who need help.

Thanks to the power of social media, this video has had nearly 8 million views in a couple of weeks and prompted the government of The Yemen to reinforce their own laws against child marriage.


On a lighter note, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby - head of the Church of England - has spoken out against the parasitic pay-day loan companies whose offices are now in every high street.

Companies such as Wonga who charge exorbitant rates of interest on short-term loans to the people who have no other port of call. The vulnerable poor.

Akin to loan-sharks of the past, these companies have acquired, unjustly, some semblance of respect - and that is a huge social problem. Archbishop Welby wants to finance a project that enables the Church of England to provide loans to the most needy.

I can imagine possible slogans for the new Church Enterprise. Maybe "A Wad From God" or " Money From Heaven".

Just Justin

I don't know how you all feel about the church acting as money lenders but I for one agree wholeheartedly.

It is not the first time the Christian Protestants intervene against social injustices. Unlike the Vatican and all the rest.

I would appreciate your views, dear readers, for your views count more than you can possibly imagine.


Saturday, 20 July 2013

Is Self-Imposed Social Exclusion a Sign Of Introversion?

Dear blog-friends,

please let me know what you think about the title of this post. I appreciate and welcome your comments.


I am going through a confusing phase regarding my current desire to spend time with my close family instead of going out in search of a possible partner and/or new friends.

After spending years socializing to the maximum limit of self-endurance...

I find myself presently opting to concentrate in work and time with my loving off-spring.


Mattie, Katie and Shaun

To the cynic among us, it may come across as an obvious attempt to make amends for past deeds and possible insufficient contact with those same people I now give all my time to - but I know differently.


My present life-style offers me unconditional freedom to do as I like, when I like.

My leisure time activity can be decided on impulse, without having to consult with anyone.

My income is sufficient to do what I want.

And, most importantly, I seldom refuse invitations to socialize. I simply do not pursue those opportunities as often as I could. Again, through choice.

All those who know me well enough, know that my three children have always been at the top of my list of priorities. I adore them and always have. They brighten up my life. They fill me with happiness and contentment. I love their company. And since they have grown up, they also fill me with enormous amounts of pride at the kind of people they have become.


Do I want to change? Do I need the hassle of getting to know someone new and have to adapt to the restrictions such a union would impose?

How I have managed to adapt to such a change in life-style is beyond me. I had no idea I was capable of coping with, and enjoying, such a contrasting life-change.

But I have.


Life is truly wonderful, especially when infrequent spells of loneliness...

...are so easy to endure.


Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Proof of Evolution not Even God-Believers Can Deny

When I'm in a conversation about Evolution versus Creation, I always bring in the topic of parasites and it usually brings the argument to a sudden conclusion - in my favour.

One would have to lack intelligence or common sense to ignore the facts of parasites emerging through evolution.

Listed below are a few that may induce nausea. If you are of a fragile disposition I advise you stop reading now.

Parasites, as we all know, are animals, bacteria, viruses and fungi that have evolved to live on/in a living host, more often than not causing serious health problems and even death.

If there were a Creator, he/she would have to be callous and vindictive to the point of insanity to come up with such horrendous and needless suffering-inducing plagues.

Here are a few:

The Loa Loa Worm lives in the human eye and causes countless cases of blindness around the world. The life-cycle of this parasite can only be completed by living and feeding off the hosts inner eye. 

God created? 

The V Cirrhosa is a kind of minuscule catfish that lives in ponds and rivers of south America. For an unsuspecting human who attempts to get in a water infested with these little critters, the result is that the V Cirrhosa will find and crawl into the penis and go on to feed on the internal organs causing an agonizing death. 

God created? 

The Cordyceps does not infect humans. Part of the weaponry of this fungus is mind-altering chemicals that will cause the host to act in a way that will bring it in close contact with as many tarantulas as possible in order to transfer the infection. 

God created? 

There are countless more, from head-lice spreading typhus to mosquitoes killing more humans than all wars combined.

Countless bacteria and viral infections decimating parts of the human population, day in day out.

God made? Or Evolution at play? 

What do you think? 

Thursday, 13 June 2013

"Burning Ring?" I Thought That Was a Ceramic Hob

"Where have you been Joe?" I can almost hear you say.

"Busy, actually"

I have been extremely busy of late with work and family commitments, hence my failure to post a blog for some time.  And so after reading the following tale on FB, I couldn't resist the temptation to post it for all of you to enjoy, while saving me the chore of having to conjure up a post of my own :)

The following tale of woe is from customer comment sent to, by a man who bought Veet Hair Removal Cream for Men


"After having been told my danglies looked like an elderly Rastafarian I decided to take the plunge and buy some of this cream as previous shaving attempts had only been mildly successful and I nearly put my back out trying to reach the more difficult bits. Being a bit of a romantic I thought I would do the deed on the missus's birthday as a bit if a treat.

I ordered it well in advance and working in the North Sea I considered myself a bit above some of the characters writing the previous reviews and wrote them off as soft office types.

Oh my fellow sufferers how wrong I was.

I waited until the other half was tucked up in bed and after giving some vague hints about a special surprise I went down to the bathroom. Initially all went well and I applied the gel and stood waiting for something to happen. I didn't have long to wait.

At first there was a gentle warmth which in a matter of seconds was replaced by an intense burning and a feeling I can only describe as like being given a barbed wire wedgie by two people intent on hitting the ceiling with my head. Religion hadn't featured much in my life until that night but I suddenly became willing to convert to any religion to stop the violent burning around the turd tunnel and what seemed like the the destruction of the meat and two veg. Struggling not to bite through my bottom lip I tried to wash the gel off in the sink and only succeeded in blocking the plughole with a mat of hair.

Through the haze of tears I struggled out of the bathroom across the hall into the kitchen, by this time walking was not really possible and I crawled the final yard to the fridge in the hope of some form of cold relief. I yanked the freezer drawer out and found a tub of ice cream, took the lid off and positioned it under me. The relief was fantastic but only temporary as it melted fairly quickly and the fiery stabbing returned.

Due to the shape of the ice cream tub I hadn't managed to give the starfish any treatment and I groped around in the draw for something else as I was sure my vision was going to fail fairly soon. I grabbed a bag of what I later found out was frozen sprouts and tore it open trying to be quiet as I did so. I took a handful of them and tried in vain to clench some between the cheeks of my arse. This was not doing the trick as some of the gel had found its way up the chutney channel and it felt like the space shuttle was running its engines behind me.This was probably and hopefully the only time in my life I was going to wish there was a gay snowman in the kitchen which should give you some idea of the depths I was willing to sink to in order to ease the pain.

The only solution my pain crazed mind could come up with was to gently ease one of the sprouts where no veg had gone before. Unfortunately, alerted by the strange grunts coming from the kitchen the other half chose that moment to come and investigate and was greeted by the sight of me, arse in the air, strawberry ice cream dripping from my bell end, pushing a sprout up my arse while muttering “ooooohhh that feels good”

Understandably this was a shock to her and she let out a scream and as I hadn't heard her come in it caused an involuntary spasm of shock in myself which resulted in the sprout being ejected at quite some speed in her direction. I can understand that having a sprout fired against your leg at 11 at night in the kitchen probably wasn't the special surprise she was expecting. Having to explain to the kids the next day what the strange hollow in the ice cream was didn't improve my status either…so to sum it up...

VEET - removes hair, dignity and self-respect"


Sunday, 19 May 2013

When a Pastime Becomes Quality Time

Being back in the UK has enabled me to return to one of my favourite activities - Sports-Fishing in lakes and rivers with my buddy (son) and very talented angler, Matthew.

A day spent with Mattie on the banks of river or on an idyllic old manor lake such as Old Bury Hill, is a day well spent. In fact I can't think of anything I'd rather do.

Mattie and I get the chance to talk for hours, interrupted only by the frequent landing of fish and Mattie's desire to feed the many water fowl around, such as Mallard ducks, Canadian geese, coots, moor-hens and swans.

Yesterday I woke up at 5:15 (earlier than on a normal working day) to get ready for the 30 mile drive to our favourite lake, Old Bury Hill.  At 5:35 Mattie rang my mobile just to make sure I hadn't overslept.  By 7:00 we were ready to start fishing.

Old Bury Hill lake - Dorking, Surrey

It wasn't long before Mattie got into the thick of the action - and went on to catch around 20 sizable fish (twice as many as I did).  Mattie has obviously picked up his angling skills!

From a dozen bream... a few carp...

 ...and a tench, made it the "first" time this pupil has beat his teacher. Needless to say I was delighted for him.

While on the subject of angling and just before anyone wishes to criticize the sport, I would like to remind you that fishing is NOT a cruel activity. Research shows, beyond all reasonable doubt, that fish do not suffer any adverse effects from being landed and released by sports anglers. There are many reports of the same fish being caught by different anglers on the same day, proving the fish have not suffered any trauma and resumed normal activity soon after being released. A fish's mouth is it's tool and strongest part of the body. The tiny pin prick caused by the hook is not detrimental to it's well being. If fish felt pain when hooked they would not pull against the hook and increase pressure. A bull or cow will follow whoever is pulling it by the rope attached to it's nose-ring - because it feels pain or discomfort if it doesn't. The very opposite of a hooked fish's reaction.

More importantly, angling allows us to fulfil the basic human instinct of hunter-gatherer. Just as a cat will hunt a mouse or bird, even when not hungry, the angler catches his quarry to hone his survival skills and satisfy his primal instinct to hunt.  As the old saying goes "give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day - give him the rod and line and he will feed himself and his family from then on."

 And no, I'm not trying to convince myself.